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Bronx Writer Janel Martinez is Creating Community Through Afro-Latinx Stories

When I think of growing up in the Bronx,

I think about the culture that existed outside of my home,

as well as within my home.

Latin Americanness, the Caribbeanness,

Black Diasporic Identity.

I couldn't be the writer that I am today without the Bronx.

My name is Janel Martinez and I'm a writer,

creator, and storyteller.

My body of work focuses on Black folk of Latin American

and Caribbean descent, but specifically a womanhood.

When you look at popular culture,

you really have to dig oftentimes

to find diverse representation.

And so when I am creating content and its many forms,

the mission and goal is always to center

Afro-Latinx stories.

[bus honks]

Saraciea who founded the Bronx Book Festival.

She's really created a space

for the literary movement in the Bronx.

She invited me to be a part of this collective of writers.

It is my absolute pleasure and joy

to be able to tell our stories

and represent the community in its truest light.

A good neighbor is someone who is thoughtful, caring,

and really thinking about not just themselves,

but how they are coexisting with those around them.

It's important that my work is affordable and accessible

to my community because everyone is deserving

of access to knowledge and access to stories.

My hope is that Black-Indigenous youth

know that there is a collective of work that is happening,

that allows for them to see themselves

and to know that their existence is valid.

Source: Bronx Writer Janel Martinez is Creating Community Through Afro-Latinx Stories

Klobuchar and Wasserman Schultz have their own breast cancer stories. This is how they want Congress to fight it.

Congresswomen discuss breast cancer and their legislation to raise awareness






Click to expand



WASHINGTON – When Sen. Amy Klobuchar received the news in February that she had breast cancer, she not only joined a small group of women in Congress who have had the disease but also became one of the thousands in the U.S. who are diagnosed each year.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., in the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday. © Jasper Colt, Jasper Colt-USA TODAY Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., in the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday.

Klobuchar, D-Minn., said getting her breast cancer diagnosis was a "shock." Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., described her diagnosis in 2007 as "devastating." 

As Breast Cancer Awareness month comes to a close, both lawmakers are fighting in the halls of the Capitol for better preventive care and more advocacy for survivors.

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Klobuchar announced Thursday that she is introducing the Preventive Care Awareness Act, legislation she started crafting after her diagnosis, she told USA TODAY.

The legislation would aim to help people get appointments needed to detect cancer early by promoting health care screenings and routine examinations and physicals.

"The numbers are much bigger than people think," Klobuchar said. "Now I'm one of them. And I never thought that would happen."

Klobuchar, 61, revealed in September that she was diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer and that doctors diagnosed her with stage 1A cancer after a biopsy in the spring. The diagnosis came after a routine mammogram she had delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

After other tests, she was treated at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota and had a lumpectomy to remove a tumor in her right breast. In May, she began radiation therapy.

More: Sen. Amy Klobuchar reveals breast cancer diagnosis, successful treatment

The senator's revelation put a national spotlight on the disease the American Cancer Society says results in more than 200,000 diagnoses each year in the U.S.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, breast cancer is the second most-common cancer among women behind skin cancer. 

Wasserman Schultz, 55, kept her diagnosis private for more than a year after learning she had breast cancer nearly 14 years ago. She did so to protect her three children at the time.

She had a double mastectomy and continued to work as a lawmaker during treatment, scheduling surgeries during weeks the House was in recess. 

More: Casey DeSantis' cancer journey will include balancing the private and public, survivors say

Klobuchar noted many Americans missed doctors appointments in the past year and a half amid  the coronavirus pandemic, and some delayed appointments out of fear of contracting COVID-19 at hospitals or doctors' offices. Klobuchar put off her own cancer screening for about a year.

More: Olivia Newton-John and Hoda Kotb tearfully bond over breast cancer journeys: 'We're sisters'

"We know there's tons of people (who have had) undetected breast cancer and other forms of cancer," Klobuchar said. "I put mine off from the beginning of the pandemic." 

At the beginning of the pandemic, cancer screenings were not considered “essential” medical services – instead, they were classified as “elective” procedures, leading patients and medical professionals to deprioritize them. 

"The sooner you know these things, and stop playing games in your mind and get the screening done, the better you're going to feel and certainly the better off your health is going to be," Klobuchar said. 

It was her personal experience that inspired her to create the legislation, which would establish a task force to develop recommendations addressing preventive care access during COVID-19 and future public health emergencies. 

It also would direct the Health and Human Services secretary to create a public health education campaign aimed at informing people about access to preventive services in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the surgeon general and the administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

More: What do the different stages of breast cancer mean? Which is the most dangerous?

In addition, it awards grants to states, territories, localities, and tribal organizations to increase use and decrease disparities in preventive care services.

Wasserman Schultz agreed prevention is crucial to combating the disease while scientists search for a cure. 

"We have to make sure that we focus on prevention" and early detection, she told USA TODAY on Wednesday, surrounded by pink breast cancer awareness memorabilia in her office. Funding preventive measures can bring down mortality rates, she said. 

Preventive care measures for breast cancer include scheduling regular mammograms and physicals. Klobuchar said a key part of the education campaign would to be inform the public that most of those services are free. 

Wasserman Schultz also emphasized the need to educate people on how to do self-exams. 

After her first mammogram, which came back clean, she became more "aware of paying attention to my breast health. So, I was doing a self-exam in the shower, found a lump, something that did not feel like what I normally felt."

Though survival rates vary for different cancers, generally, the later cancer is diagnosed, the more difficult it is to treat.

The U.S. National Cancer Institute, a government agency that conducts cancer research, published an academic article in early September 2020 that said it "conservatively estimates 10,000 excess deaths over the next decade from underdiagnosed and undertreated breast and colorectal cancers during COVID-19."

More: Many Arizonans avoided cancer screenings during the pandemic. That could have major ramifications.

Klobuchar's bill, which hasn't been introduced in the House yet, is already getting bipartisan support in the upper chamber.

Republican Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Mike Rounds and John Thune of South Dakota have joined Klobuchar and Democratic Sens. Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin and Jacky Rosen of Nevada in sponsoring the legislation.

Rounds' wife, Jean, also is battling breast cancer.

“My family has seen the importance of preventive health care firsthand as my wife, Jean, has been battling cancer since 2019," Rounds said in a statement. "Unfortunately, thousands of American families share my family’s story and witness how a scheduled check-up can turn into lifesaving early detection of a horrific disease.

Klobuchar and Wasserman Schultz have teamed up on similar breast cancer legislation and awareness before, helping lead the charge to reauthorize pass the Breast Health Education and Awareness Requires Learning Young Act, or the EARLY Act, to be reauthorized last year. It was done so as part of the larger government spending and COVID-19 relief legislation. 

That legislation, written by Wasserman Schultz in 2010, created an outreach program administered by the CDC to highlight the disease in younger women and those who may be at higher risk because of their ethnicities.

Wasserman Schultz said that because of her Ashkenazi Jewish heritage, she was much more likely to carry a BRCA gene mutation. Because of the gene, she was also more likely to have ovarian cancer. She had her ovaries removed during her breast cancer treatment. 

"Making sure that young women knew their risk was an important part of this legislation," she said. 

More: Most women should schedule an annual mammogram starting at age 40

Opinion: I gambled with my life and got lucky. But too many Black women lose.

What happens after the diagnosis and battle? Though it has been nearly 14 years since Wasserman Schultz's diagnosis and treatment, she stressed that the "survivor journey is for your lifetime. And there are so many pits and falls that you can trip up on."

She told USA TODAY she plans to unveil House legislation this year to "help people navigate their post-cancer experience," focusing on helping survivors navigate doctors visits. 

For Klobuchar, her diagnoses shined a spotlight on the disease.

"It's a whole new ballgame when it happens to you personally." 

Contributing: Matthew Brown, Gabriela Miranda and Jasper Colt USA TODAY; Jim Rosica, the Tallahassee Democrat; and Drew Favakeh and Meena Venkataramanan, the Arizona Republic

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Klobuchar and Wasserman Schultz have their own breast cancer stories. This is how they want Congress to fight it.

Source: Klobuchar and Wasserman Schultz have their own breast cancer stories. This is how they want Congress to fight it.

I'm a flight attendant for a major airline. Some of us are making $150,000 a year thanks to overtime - but I've also heard horror stories.

"I had a captain who said he prided himself on kicking people off the airplane if they were being rude to us or other passengers. That's something I think is important," said one flight attendant (not pictured). Matej Kastelic/500px/Getty Images
  • A flight attendant for an American airline (who asked to remain anonymous) said they're in demand.

  • There's opportunity to earn a lot from overtime, they said - up to $150,000 a year before taxes.

  • But they also deal with people who refuse to wear masks. Here's their story, as told to Elle Hardy.

  • This as-told-to essay is based on a transcribed conversation with a 36-year-old flight attendant for a major American airline from Dallas about the demand for flight attendants. This person has asked to remain anonymous, but their identity and employment have been verified by Insider. The following has been edited for length and clarity.

    You've probably seen that the industry is struggling as there have been serious staff shortages. Some airlines have canceled a large number of flights because of the shortages.

    I've been flying for about six years, though at the height of the pandemic, I was furloughed for six months. I was lucky to be able to afford to take the time off and do a bit of traveling, but I know a lot of folks for whom the furlough was really hard.

    Now, it's the opposite. Picking up overtime shifts is always an option.

    If you're on your day off when the airline's desperate for people, it'll offer overtime and say, "Hey, if you work this trip, we will pay you time and a half." That's been much more prevalent in the past six months.

    My airline has hired about 1,000 new flight attendants this year, and it's also bringing on board about 1,100 new hires who were pushed out of training when the pandemic started.

    I don't do overtime because I don't need to, but I know a lot of folks who make a lot of money by picking up those extra trips

    They'll make the same money in two or three flights that we do in five on a normal shift.

    I make about $5,000 a month if I work 18 days that month. If you're doing some overtime, you're looking at about $7,000 a month. There are some flight attendants, we call them "senior mamas," who work 150 to 200 hours a month at up to $69 per hour. To me, that's absurd, but they're pulling in about $150,000 a year.

    Story continues

    We're not like pilots, who are limited to 100 flight hours a month. Normal flight hours for someone like me is about 85 flight hours per month.

    When it comes to picking your flight routes, you'll only get places like Hawaii and Frankfurt, Germany, if you have the seniority - we're talking 40 years at the airline sometimes

    For someone at my level, I can more or less pick and choose what I want.

    There are different layers of routes, and your requests are put into a computer. Then, based on everyone's seniority, it tells you what you get. I really like the food and beer in the upper Midwest, so I mostly pick there and usually get it.

    We receive our monthly schedule in advance. Generally, flights are open for bids between the 12th and 15th of the month, and by the 18th, you'll know next month's schedule.

    The only way I can explain people objecting to masks is that it's market specific

    If you're coming from San Francisco, you know everybody's gonna play ball. Once you get to Atlanta, for example, not so much.

    I hate to say it, but it's political. Where the state went in the last presidential election can tell you where you're going to have problems with people refusing to wear masks.

    In Florida, you've got nothing but tourists. But Georgia, the Carolinas, Louisiana - that's where you get people kicking up about masks.

    But I'm a bit of an anomaly. I'm 6-foot-four and 240 pounds. They don't mess with me.

    Once, a gentleman started yelling at two female colleagues because the drink cart was blocking the aisle. I went to him and said, "Hey, you need to behave." And he sat quietly in his seat for the rest of the time.

    To tell you the truth, once most people calm down from acting like a jerk, they realize that they've acted like one - and they don't look at you after that.

    If I ask somebody to please cover their face, they do it. I personally haven't encountered a problem, but I have heard horror stories from my colleagues about having to call the police.

    When I say horror stories, it's actually a fairly straightforward process. Recently, my friend had to call the police to meet the airplane because a man refused to put on his mask. The captain said, "Everybody, please remain seated. We're going to have some folks board the aircraft." They came on board, and the person was removed.

    I'll say that our pilots, the captains in particular, absolutely have our backs. They'll brief us before every flight and say, "If anybody goofs off, if anybody has a mask problem, you let us know, and we will remove them."

    Recently, I had a captain who said he prided himself on kicking people off the airplane if they were being rude to us or other passengers. That's something I think is important.

    Read the original article on Business Insider

    Source: I'm a flight attendant for a major airline. Some of us are making $150,000 a year thanks to overtime - but I've also heard horror stories.

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